The city's oldest public school has a new leader.

Timothy McKenna, who earned a reputation for reducing violence and improving performance at Furness High in South Philadelphia, will become president of Central High School at the end of this school year.

McKenna will succeed Sheldon S. Pavel, who has led Central for 28 years and whose name had come to be almost synonymous with the school. It was previously reported that Pavel planned to retire in July.

In a letter on Central's website, Shai Gluskin, vice president for communications for the school's Home and School Association, said McKenna had won out over 12 other candidates in part because faculty members on the selection committee said they were eager to work for him.